There have been a lot of developments concerning space lately, whether we’re talking about the study of exoplanets or catching glimpses of protoplanetary disks around young stars. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to be reminded of back home, our pale blue dot that is floating through this same universe that offers so much in the way of scientific discovery. A new video from NASA Goddard is doing just that, using photos from the EPIC camera on NOAA‘s DSCOVR satellite.
The DSCOVR satellite, and by extension the EPIC camera, currently take up residence at Lagrange point 1, approximately one million miles from Earth, where the gravitational pull from both our planet and the Sun keep it locked in place. From there, it gets a view of Earth that’s unlike any other, and for the last year, the EPIC camera has been snapping pictures of our planet. Today, a new video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center puts more than 3,000 of those photos together to form a time-lapse that documents Earth over an entire year.
The video, which is narrated by EPIC lead scientist Jay Herman, shows us some incredible sights, including the motion of Earth’s cloud cover and, at one point, even a glimpse of the Moon’s shadow darting across the surface of Earth during a total solar eclipse. EPIC’s main mission, however, is not to give us earthlings these excellent images of our home, but to allow scientists a way to track the movement of clouds, the aerosol and ozone levels in Earth’s atmosphere, and the properties of the vegetation that covers the planet.
The main mission of the DSCOVR satellite, which is the product of a collaboration between NASA, the United States Air Force, and the Nation Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, is to monitor the solar winds coming off the sun in real time. While there’s a lot the DSCOVR satellite and the EPIC camera are intended to measure and track, it’s nice that they can also show us a year in the life of Earth.